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Toon Talk: Finding Nemo DVD
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by Kirby Holt (archives)
November 10, 2003
Kirby reviews the DVD release of the Disney/Pixar summer hit Finding Nemo.

Toon Talk
Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt

(c) Disney

Finding Nemo
2-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD
Return to the Sea

Fresh off its record-breaking summer run (which, when all is said and done, should place it as the highest grossing film of the year, in addition to now being the most successful animated film of all time), Finding Nemo now adds to its popularity (not to mention award chances) with a great DVD package filled with just enough informative, yet entertaining, bonus features to keep the DVD players of fans and families alike humming for some time. (In fact, Nemo continues to break records: already it’s poised to become one of the best-selling videos of all time.)  (Click here to read the original Toon Talk review of Finding Nemo.)

Introduced by those wacky guys at Pixar (including director/co-writer/voice actor Andrew Stanton, co-director Lee Unkrich and co-writer/voice actor Bob Peterson), the two discs in this special collector’s edition feature both widescreen and full screen versions of the film, direct from the digital source; even better, the full screen is not cropped, but digitally extended to fill normal television screens (those clever Pixarians think of everything). But the best part of all is that, instead of cramming both versions onto one disc, the two versions are split between the discs. The remaining bonus features are then divided as well, making for a package that is neatly paced and not overwhelming once you pop in the second disc.

The fun stuff starts right away, with more sidesplitting Marlin and Dory dialogue over the main menu. And, by clicking on the fish icon in the lower left-hand corner, you get a peek at a unique bonus feature that was a great idea for this film’s DVD in particular: Virtual Aquariums, a chance to turn your TV set into your very-own computer-animated fish bowl. There are several views available on both discs (disc 1 features the coral reef and the ocean, disc 2 the dentist’s office aquarium) and you can access them from any menu or choose from all of them directly from the bonus features. The disc 2 options even feature a Muzak background and the ones on disc 1 have the sounds of the ocean (mute it if you have a weak bladder … ).

Its features like this that make this set (and every one of Pixar’s, for that matter) so enjoyable to delve (dive?) into. Even the usual features such as Scene Selections have some fun add-ons, with new dialogue from the likes of Bruce and Crush to liven things up.

(c) Disney

Visual Commentaries have been tried before (such as on Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Treasure Planet), but none are as successful in their execution as the one presented here. Wisely incorporating the obligatory Deleted Scenes into the mix, the additional visuals tack on an additional thirty minutes to the film’s running time, but it’s worth it. (They can also be accessed through a separate Visual Commentary Index.) Provided by Stanton, Unkrich and Peterson in the audio portion, this commentary offers several laugh-out loud moments on its own, notably when the participants take a few playful jabs at … audio commentaries.

Yes, with this commentary, you will be able to watch, listen and learn more about Finding Nemo, such as …

The Top 10 Things We Learn From This Commentary:

  1. See how Marlin’s anemone home is actually made out of Sulley’s hair from Monsters, Inc.
  2. Hear outtakes of Albert Brook’s Marlin in both his bad joke-telling phase, plus the various punch line possibilities recorded for the end of the film.
  3. Hear the difference between “fake Aussie? and “real Aussie?.
  4. Learn of the cinematic references used for the cracked tank gang, such as the classic loony bin flicks One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and King of Hearts.
  5. Hear outtakes of Dory’s sleep mumbling (“Clause, the piñata’s drooping … ?) and discover the obscure Disney connection to the “sea monkeys have my money? line.
  6. See guides to Stanton’s hometown New England references (such as the Boston accented lobsters), the gag-filled set dressing for the dentist’s office (I’d be wary of his certifications if I were a patient) and the pun-filled boat names (for the record, its “Skiff-A-Dee-Doo-Dah?).
  7. See hidden video footage of Ellen DeGeneres speaking whale and Geoffrey Rush holding his tongue.
  8. See a hysterical multi-language reel of … I can’t spoil it for you … watch it for yourself!
  9. Learn how the sequence where the “fish in the net all swim down to escape? was based on an actual true event.
  10. And: see a moving tribute (introduced by John Lasseter) to the late Glenn McQueen, the talented Pixar animator who worked on all the previous Pixar films and whom Nemo is dedicated to.
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